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Competitive Program

Collegiate Aquatics provides instruction and training for competitive swimmers ages 5-18. Swimmers are evaluated by the coaching staff prior to beginning practice and placed in a level/training group based on swimming ability, maturity, and age.

Collegiate's competitive swimming program is broken into four training groups based on the four basic phases of athlete development in age group swimming.[1] At each level of the program, we continually try to evaluate and adapt to the multitude of factors, both scientific and sociological, that impact the growth and development of young athletes. Experience has taught us that the perfect age group program is a moving target that changes as the population we serve changes and as we learn more about the development of young people. Once swimmers begin in our program, we want to give them the preparation and tools they will need to make swimming a lifetime activity.

Clinics are offered in the spring and late summer for conditioning and teaching or reviewing stroke progressions. Collegiate coaches encourage swimmers to participate in the spring and late summer clinics, as well as a summer program, in order to facilitate their progression through Collegiate Aquatics competitive swimming levels.


2016-17 Collegiate Aquatics Training Groups

Novice Group: Basic Skill Development
(color coded in red in red on practice schedule grid)

This phase is the introductory level of competitive swimming. In order to begin in the novice levels of our program, swimmers must be able to swim a minimum of 25 yards freestyle and backstroke. The focus is almost entirely on teaching fundamentals and developing basic motor learning skills, balance, and coordination in the water. It is vitally important to make swimming fun and enjoyable. We believe the most significant responsibility for novice coaches is teaching young people to love the water and to love the sport. Training Opportunities: 3 days a week.

Age Group Green: Basic Training Development
(color coded in green on practice schedule grid).

After the swimmer has completed the fundamentals of the novice program, swimmers move into the second level of our age group program. "Green" swimmers are able to swim all four strokes and maintain good technique on low intensity interval work. This phase is a transitional level where the emphasis begins to change from primarily teaching to a relatively equal balance of technique work and physiological development. The focus is still centered on teaching fundamentals and developing a strong foundation in all strokes. A high priority continues to be placed on kicking all four strokes. Training Opportunities: 4 days a week.

Age Group Silver: Intermediate Training Development
(color coded in silver on practice schedule grid).

This level serves as a bridge between the two training groups. Green level swimmers that may be ready for an additional day of practice or the opportunity to practice with "Blue" level swimmers one or two times a week may be suited for these training times. Training Opportunities: 4 or 5 days a week based on coaches’ evaluation. Dryland training may also be recommended for some athletes in the silver group.

Age Group Blue: Progressive Training
(color coded in blue on practice schedule grid).

The quantity and intensity of the training program increases in the "Blue" group. For the first time, the program structure calls for more time to be devoted to physiological conditioning than to teaching fundamentals. Swimmers are encouraged to attend as many practices each week as possible. Although low intensity aerobic conditioning is still the highest priority, we have athletes begin to do more anaerobic threshold work. It is critical that technique is not compromised as swimmers swim faster in practice a greater percentage of the time. Training Opportunities: Dryland - 4 days a week; Swimming - 5 days a week

Senior Group: Advanced Training
(color coded in gold on practice schedule grid).

Swimmers with the appropriate dedication, desire, experience, and talent are invited to the advanced training level of our program at 12 years of age. The training program is very demanding with a heavy emphasis on distance based physiological training. While mileage completed is an important consideration, attention to detail and improvement in stroke technique is very highly valued. Coaches continually stress efficiency and technical precision as key components to success at the elite levels. The commitment level required at these levels of the program is very high with swimmers expected to attend at least 90% of all training sessions during the school year. Dryland training is a standard part of the the senior training program. Training Opportunities: Dryland - 4 days a week; Swimming - 6 days a week.

Specific training questions can be answered by one of the coaches. You may speak with a coach not engaged with a practice or by writing to

See Practice Information HERE for information about practice schedule times.

[1] Portions adapted from "Phases of Athlete Development in an Age Group Program," Pat Hogan, Mecklenburg Aquatic Club.